Eons ago, Corporate seized the reigns of earthly power. Oceans froze over, leaving behind foreboding sculptures of ice-carved waves. Forests were quickly replaced with deserts. The technological marvels of the information age went ominously dark; they now occupy vast, empty halls where the spiders spin and the great circuits fall quiet, one by one. I’m in one of Corporate’s internment camps, scratching out TPS reports with a shaking, liver-spotted hand, squinting at the paper because my hoary old eyes now have trouble making out the numbers. A black-masked guard walks slowly by, tapping a truncheon against a gloved palm. He cackles and says, “Keep working, Kent. Just keeeeep at it. And thank Corporate for the fading days of your office-bound life.” Something snaps in me. Bitter tears of unrealized fury trickle down my cheeks. My hand steadies and I scratch out one word, thick and black: ECHO. Magic flash. A radiant nexus of swirling color opens before me. Explosive, multicolored blasts jet out from its center, leaving me unharmed but slamming into nearby guards with the force of a missile. A squat rack appears a few yards away, glowing and thrumming. The guard captain yells, “DON’T LET HIM—” before he’s taken out by one of the blasts. I totter toward the squat rack, my office-atrophied legs quivering weakly. I dip under the barbell, feeling its cool, welcome touch against the base of my neck. A quick, sharp breath rushes past my lips as imagery floods my mind: X-wings, roundhouse kicks, medium-rare ribeyes…wonder upon wonders, I look down at my upturned hands and see the wrinkles disappearing. Thick cables of muscle are rippling across my limbs as a He-man worthy light-show cascades around my body. Batman’s growly voice (The Kevin Conroy one; you did a good job Mr. Bale, but they should’ve just dubbed Kevin in to the Nolan movies) says to me, “Now squat, Kent. Squat and be free.” I lift the barbell off the rests, steady it on my back, and sink into the pocket. Extradimensional light pours from my mouth and eyes. From the corner of my vision I see a platoon of guards round the corner and stumble back, shielding their faces with their arms. I flex once, then blast free of the earth, rocketing towards the heavens. The barbell—now little more than a molten cinder—falls off my back. I punch the sky like Superman, then twist into a loop-de-loop barrel roll. My legs trail a gorgeous slash of charged ions as I escape the atmosphere.
If you’re ever stuck in one of Corporate’s internment camps, don’t wait for the faint hope that you may be given an office with a window. Summon a magical squat rack and transform into a quantum force that can touch the stars. Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle